My time in Portland was equally relaxing and rushed. I could have spent a couple more days there and I will definitely be back to explore what I missed. Like in all the cities I visited, a lot of the recommendations I got of places to see are not exactly within city limits, and I didn’t make it anywhere that required more than a short Uber ride from where I was staying.
The last morning in Portland, I got up early to make it to the hot chocolate bar that was set up in the hotel lobby. Besides starting off with a delicious, rich chocolate base, they provide you with enough toppings to make whatever flavored drink you want. The day before I’d made myself white chocolate hot chocolate; today, I made two flavors (because I couldn’t make up my mind) : extra chocolatey hot chocolate (with chocolate shavings, chocolate syrup, and cocoa powder), and pumpkin pie hot chocolate (with pumpkin syrup, white chocolate, whipped cream, and cinnamon). (The pumpkin pie was my favorite of the three, despite the fact that I’m not a huge fan of cinnamon.) Then I headed out to make the most of my last half-day in Portland.
My first stop was Voodoo Donuts, another recommendation I got from a lot of people (and a place I’d heard of before, probably on Food Network). Their variety of donut types and flavor combinations was extravagant but in the end my favorite thing from there was not a donut at all, but a peach fritter. I’ve heard that I should try Blue Star Donuts as well, but unfortunately they were closed on Christmas Eve.
On my way back to the hotel from Voodoo Donuts, I stopped by Stumptown Coffee Roasters, and had probably the “food” that best lived up to its expectations in the entire city!
Once I’d checked out of the hotel (and taken one last selfie with Alfredo) and stored my bags (which expanded in number from two to three with all the books I picked up at Powell’s the day before), I headed across the river to Mt. Tabor, a city park built on an extinct volcano, that now also houses the city reservoir. This was on recommendation from the hotel staff, again, because I’d wanted to visit the Rose Test Gardens, but realized that wasn’t the best idea in the dead of winter. Mt. Tabor was an awesome alternative! Though it was foggy out, there were still great views across the river of downtown Portland, and the park itself was gorgeous, too. It was still vibrant and green even in late December, and despite the persistent drizzle, easy to hike. It was a nice mental health break after so much traveling and running around and being indoors on the train.
Nearby to the park is Hawthorne Street, which I’d been told has a lot of local shops and restaurants, so that was my next stop. It did, indeed, meet the promise: about 30 blocks of places I could have stopped! It wasn’t yet lunch time, and I wanted to finally eat a meal from the food carts, but I took about an hour to walk around the street and shop and eat the most delicious ice cream sundae I’d ever made! (Vanilla ice cream~salted caramel sauce~candied sesame~wild berry compote~pumpkin whip).
After some more walking and picking up snacks, I headed back across the river where I stopped to see the Portlandia statue, ate lunch, and then to headed back to the hotel to pick up my bags and head for the train.
I finally made it to the food carts! A lot were closed as it was Christmas Eve, but I ate at a grilled cheese truck and had the grilled cheese equivalent of a muffaletta (with salami, pepperoni, olives, and a fried egg)…it was good! I brought it back to the hotel and hung out in the lobby until it was time to head to Union Station to wait for my train. I’ve been as far west as I’ve planned to go…headed back east, now!